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Indonesia's twin disasters
Rescuers are spread thin after a tsunami and volcanic eruption strike the archipelago nation just hours apart, killing hundreds
Residents within a four-mile radius of Mount Merapi were being evacuated and given masks to protect them against the ash.
Residents within a four-mile radius of Mount Merapi were being evacuated and given masks to protect them against the ash.
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he video: Indonesia is reeling after a tsunami and a volcanic eruption killed at least 300 people in separate parts of the country this week. A 7.7-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra caused a tsunami that swept over the Mentawai islands on Monday, leaving about 270 people confirmed dead and another 412 missing. The next day Mount Merapi on the island of Java belched ash and hot gas down its densely populated slopes, killing at least two dozen. Among the dead was the spiritual guardian of Mount Merapi, 83-year old Mbah (grandfather) Maridjan, who refused to leave and was found buried in ash in his house. With the country's resources spread thin by the back-to-back disasters, rescuers had been able to reach only some isolated areas in the Mentawai islands two days after the tsunami, so the full extent of the disasters remains unclear.
The reaction: These twin disasters were a deadly reminder of the natural threats Indonesia faces because of it's location on the Pacific's "Ring of Fire," says Aubrey Belford in The New York Times. The tsunami and eruption hit just hours apart, but they appear to be unrelated. Lives could have been saved if the tsunami victims had heard an alarm, says Dana Chivvis at AOL News. But two buoys in Indonesia's tsunami warning system had been vandalized recently, and weren't working. Without it, the victims had no chance to reach higher ground. Watch an AP report:

 

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